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PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:09 pm 
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There's been several other threads on West Berkshire's fares and fees in the last year or so, but probably just as well to put this in a new one, since it's quite distinct from the one Sussex started yesterday about the fares 'hike' :shock:

But interesting that the fares stuff was mainly about making the tariff structure less complex and easier to understand, while they seem to be going the other way with the fees structure :?


New taxi licence fee proposals too complicated — ‘it’s ridiculous’

https://www.readingchronicle.co.uk/news ... idiculous/

NEW proposals for charging fees for taxi licences have been described as “ridiculous”, as they are reportedly too hard to understand.

Taxi drivers and operators must apply for a licence from West Berkshire Council, who charge them a fee. The council wants to hike up the fee, to cover the increasing cost of paperwork required for licences and inspections.

But a consultation with the public and the taxi trade about proposed increases has been criticised as too difficult to understand.

Currently private hire operators pay £559 for one to four vehicles, £898 for five to nine vehicles, and £1,390 for 10 or more. All licences are only for five years.

But the council wants to change to graduated system, where operators pay for the first vehicle — either £456 for a new licence or £342 for a renewal — and then £71.25 extra for each extra vehicle.

The changes would mean some operators having to pay up to an extra £128, while others would save up to £271.

However, because the initial consultation was so difficult to understand, the council will have to carry out another consultation, with the changes explained more clearly.

The proposals for new licences were set out as: “New methodology schedule based on per vehicle calculation four hours (at £57 hourly rate) including first vehicle plus 15 minutes per additional vehicle. The fee is payable up to a maximum of 20 vehicles.”

Councillors on the licensing committee on January 27 criticised how complicated the proposals were explained.

Councillor Hilary Cole (Con, Chieveley & Cold Ash) said: “I’m struggling to find how complicated we can make things, when they could be quite simple and easy. We need to make things simpler and explain things better. It’s ridiculous.”

Suzanne McLaughlin, council officer, said: “Perhaps it wasn’t clear enough in the public consultation and the trade consultation as how they would be able to calculate the new fees, should they be approved.”

Taxi drivers told the council, in the first consultation, that the new fees are “way too high”. One said: “In the economic situation as it stands and the political turmoil caused by Brexit, this just makes the trade and the council look greedy.”

Some drivers complained that the council has not been inspecting taxi drivers and operators — part of what the licence fee is supposed to pay for.

One taxi driver said in the consultation: “They haven’t been carrying out [inspection checks] for years, despite feigning surprise when this has been raised in meetings and then assuring the committee that this was changing. It hasn’t.

“Perhaps the department would like to confirm how many operator licences are currently in force in West Berkshire and how many operator checks have actually been carried out in the last 12 months.”

Councillors in the licensing committee tried to reassure trade representatives in the meeting that inspection checks would be carried out.

Cllr James Cole (Con, Hungerford & Kintbury) said: “The intent is to charge for what we actually do, and to deal with the criticism that we have not been doing the inspections as we have been supposed to be doing. It’s far fairer.”


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:10 pm 
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The proposals for new licences were set out as: “New methodology schedule based on per vehicle calculation four hours (at £57 hourly rate) including first vehicle plus 15 minutes per additional vehicle. The fee is payable up to a maximum of 20 vehicles.”

Would really need to see it in context to assess whether it's particularly confusing or not.

But the principle sounds straightforward enough, if the explanation maybe a bit clunky [-(


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:11 pm 
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But the council wants to change to graduated system, where operators pay for the first vehicle — either £456 for a new licence or £342 for a renewal — and then £71.25 extra for each extra vehicle.

Putting aside the actual numbers, I think this is a far better and far fairer way of working out operator fees i.e. you pay for the number of vehicles per license.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:13 pm 
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Quote:
The proposals for new licences were set out as: “New methodology schedule based on per vehicle calculation four hours (at £57 hourly rate) including first vehicle plus 15 minutes per additional vehicle. The fee is payable up to a maximum of 20 vehicles.”

What a load of old fanny. [-X

The council don't need to know the full inns and outs of the vehicles on the license when processing the application.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:45 pm 
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Sussex wrote:
Quote:
The proposals for new licences were set out as: “New methodology schedule based on per vehicle calculation four hours (at £57 hourly rate) including first vehicle plus 15 minutes per additional vehicle. The fee is payable up to a maximum of 20 vehicles.”

What a load of old fanny. [-X

The council don't need to know the full inns and outs of the vehicles on the license when processing the application.

Problem with that, I suspect, is that if you base it purely on what you're implying then there's not going to be a huge difference between a five car operator and a 500 car one :-k


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:51 pm 
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Problem with that, I suspect, is that if you base it purely on what you're implying then there's not going to be a huge difference between a five car operator and a 500 car one :-k

But that's the council's problem.

There is no law which says a council must have the full inns and outs of all the vehicles on your fleet when renewing.

Cars come, cars go, cars share operators. These are five year licenses, no firm stays the same for five years.

As I said the idea of paying per car makes sense, but the complicated way the council are going at it will merely ensure a bureaucratic nightmare for the op and the council.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:25 pm 
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Well indeed these things will always be crude approximations, and easy to pick holes in, and not everyone will ever be fully happy.

One example is that the trade tend to want longer licence durations, but if you have five year ops licences then you could end up with a scenario where a new start up that grows rapidly could end up paying at the lowest end of the scale on start-up but with a huge fleet a couple of years down the line.

Take it to the other extreme, and working out every little occurrence of cost and charging commensurately would entail hugely more time expended on it all, which would just end up increasing fees.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:59 am 
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StuartW wrote:
One example is that the trade tend to want longer licence durations, but if you have five year ops licences then you could end up with a scenario where a new start up that grows rapidly could end up paying at the lowest end of the scale on start-up but with a huge fleet a couple of years down the line.


Fairly easy to fix that one tho. 5 Year licence with an annual true-up of actual cars, with a further payment or refund against remaining years on the licence.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 8:40 pm 
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One example is that the trade tend to want longer licence durations, but if you have five year ops licences then you could end up with a scenario where a new start up that grows rapidly could end up paying at the lowest end of the scale on start-up but with a huge fleet a couple of years down the line.

Or you just tier the number of cars.

Single car £X, 2-50 £Y, 50+ £Z.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:39 pm 
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Karga wrote:
StuartW wrote:
One example is that the trade tend to want longer licence durations, but if you have five year ops licences then you could end up with a scenario where a new start up that grows rapidly could end up paying at the lowest end of the scale on start-up but with a huge fleet a couple of years down the line.


Fairly easy to fix that one tho. 5 Year licence with an annual true-up of actual cars, with a further payment or refund against remaining years on the licence.


Indeed. Of course, take that principle to the extreme and you'd effectively be relicensing every time an op gains or loses a car, which would obviously be fairer as between operators and more accurately reflect true costs, but would be overly bureaucratic and ultimately cost the trade more overall.

But your suggestion perhaps does strike something of a balance between fairness and reflecting true cost on the one hand, and avoiding endless form-filling and associated cost on the other hand :)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:44 pm 
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Sussex wrote:
Or you just tier the number of cars.

Single car £X, 2-50 £Y, 50+ £Z.


But wasn't that the system that the council had, but are now dumping in favour of a charge per individual vehicle (thus less crude and more accurate) which you then praised? :-k

Quote:
Currently private hire operators pay £559 for one to four vehicles, £898 for five to nine vehicles, and £1,390 for 10 or more. All licences are only for five years.

But the council wants to change to graduated system, where operators pay for the first vehicle — either £456 for a new licence or £342 for a renewal — and then £71.25 extra for each extra vehicle.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:54 pm 
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But wasn't that the system that the council had, but are now dumping in favour of a charge per individual vehicle (thus less crude and more accurate) which you then praised? :-k

It is better IMO to charge by vehicle numbers, but not via the cack handed way they are proposing.

When I say per vehicle, I really mean a firm that has 150 cars shouldn't be paying the same as a firm with 50.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 7:23 pm 
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Sussex wrote:
Quote:
But wasn't that the system that the council had, but are now dumping in favour of a charge per individual vehicle (thus less crude and more accurate) which you then praised? :-k

It is better IMO to charge by vehicle numbers, but not via the cack handed way they are proposing.

When I say per vehicle, I really mean a firm that has 150 cars shouldn't be paying the same as a firm with 50.

But surely a charge reflecting each individual vehicle is fairer than any tiered one, which by definition must be cruder?

Anyway, I see they've started waffling about using the fee structure to incentivise ULEVs.

So I've put that in a separate thread, because this is complex enough as it is without the ULEV dimension :-s


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 7:33 pm 
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But surely a charge reflecting each individual vehicle is fairer than any tiered one, which by definition must be cruder?

It is fairer if you don't have crazy bureaucracy alongside.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:01 pm 
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Councillors tell officers to start again.

https://www.newburytoday.co.uk/news/new ... cated.html

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